Emanuel defends Daley's White House tenure

January 10, 2012

(AP/Carolyn Kaster, File)
Bill Daley replaced former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel in January of 2011.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is defending Bill Daley's tenure as the White House chief of staff. Daley's resignation was announced Monday, one year after replacing Emanuel in the position.

Daley is the brother of long-time Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, who says he's "proud" of Bill in light of the resignation.

Mayor Emanuel calls Bill Daley a friend, and said being White House chief of staff is the "toughest job in America."

"There are three things or skill sets or buckets that I think of for the Chief of Staff - politics, press and policy. And you got to be able to work at all three of them, and Bill did a good job," Emanuel said in an unrelated press conference Tuesday.

Emanuel said it's not unusual to have chief of staff turnover in any presidential term, and said the historical average is 18 months on that job. The mayor added when he was chief of staff, President Barack Obama and the country were at a very different juncture than they are now.

"The president is different, the times are different, the job is different and where you are in the tenure is different, and the issues you face are different," Emanuel said.

When asked about the opinion that chiefs of staff might be better suited to come from the Washington D.C. political culture, rather than from outside, Emanuel did not mince words.

"What you gotta know is loyalty - not a strong suit for Washington - I'll tell you that. You gotta know how to have a presiden't back - not a strong suit for Washington," Emanuel shot back. He added, "What you gotta know is politics. And I think Chicago can teach Washington something about politics."  

Bill Daley said he's eager to return home to Chicago to spend time with his family. An Obama campaign official said Daley will serve as one of the co-chairs of Obama's Chicago-based re-election efforts.

Emanuel surmised Daley will return to working in the private sector. But when Emanuel was asked if he would hire Daley, the mayor wouldn't say, but instead said Daley "will be an important resource to the city."